Inspiring People: Chloe Hung, author

Sometimes our ‘true calling’ doesn’t lie in the area we trained in. But that doesn’t mean your training was in vain…often it’s a stepping-stone towards your bigger picture, as Chloe Hung has discovered. 

1. Tell us your story:
I am an author and an actuarial consultant from Malaysia. When I first graduated college, I wanted to put my actuarial degree to good use to help me land a great job and advance within the ranks of the corporate world quickly. After 2 years of working within the corporate sector, I realized that my true calling actually lies within the educational sector. My area of specialty lies in actuarial and financial education.

2. How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve?
I attended a boot camp organized by my publisher, and their presentation made me realize that I should step out of my comfort zone and do something to achieve my dreams. I was sick of having my work go unappreciated at my workplace and I was sick of having to depend on a job that I hate for income. I wanted a change and I set 2 specific goals during my publisher’s boot camp: becoming a published author and achieve financial freedom for my family. My publisher showed me the resources to make this dream become a reality.

3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals?
My publishing team was always there for me as I embarked on my author journey. It was difficult at first as there were so many new things to learn but I followed the system created by my publisher and it worked wonderfully. I am now a published author and I have created a business to help me achieve financial freedom in the long run.

4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?
My biggest challenge was staying focused as there were just so many things to do and so many new things to try. I ended up burning half of my savings jumping here and there trying out every single new thing that came along.

5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?
Having a clear set of goals and making a decision to achieve them. As the saying goes, “When there is a will, there is a way.” This saying kept me going during my tough times. I firmly believe that life is always happening for us and not against us. Therefore, any challenges that come my way are thrown at me to make me stronger and better in the long run.



6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?
It’s easy to give up when nothing seems to be going your way. If you are on the verge of giving up, pause and re-evaluate that particular goal of yours. Ask yourself why is that goal important to you? On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the importance of that goal? What do you ultimately want to achieve through that goal? What do I need to do now to achieve this important goal of mine?
These questions help me focus and push forward when the going gets tough.



7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?
I hope to travel the world and help everyone around me achieve financial stability in the long run.

Chloe Hung wrote the book Strength in Numbers to help people-especially students learn what actuarial science is all about. Chloe firmly believes that knowledge in numbers is a very powerful tool especially if you are looking to multiply your own income.
Speaking to groups and coaching clients, Chloe loves showing others how they too, can leverage their actuarial skills and knowledge to multiply their own income.
Learn more about Chloe at www.myactuarialresource.com

Want more stories like this? Subscribe to our newsletter here

Inspiring People: Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls

When you build your own business, it can be hard to let go of the reigns, even for a moment to take time out for yourself. But scheduling ‘white space’ into your calendar is essential for  long-term success. This week Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls shares the story of her journey and other lessons she’s learned along the way…

“I did not plan on starting a company. I always wanted to go work for a large multi-national business and be a Fortune 500 CEO. When I was a student I looked at leaders like Meg Whitman & Ursula Burns as my role models. I started a global marketing company in Cambridge, MA 16 years ago after starting my career on Wall Street in the 80s and having a successful career in Corporate America at companies like Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola and working at 3 different startups as the head of marketing. 

I took the leap right after 9/11 when the company I worked for cut their marketing. I had nothing to lose. Being an entrepreneur provides me a platform to do work I truly enjoy with and for people I respect. I get to set my priorities, I have time to travel and hang out with my inner circle, and work out every day. 



It has been a journey to get here but I am lucky to have found it. I love the autonomy, flexibility and the fact that I know every day the impact that I have on my business. When I worked at big companies I always felt the ball would roll with or without me, that if I got hit by a bus someone new would be in my office right away. Now my DNA is in everything we do and I can trace every decision and sale to something I did or a decision I made and that is incredibly gratifying and fulfilling. Like most entrepreneurs, I am working harder and longer than ever and I have never been happier. Working for yourself and building a business you started in incredibly rewarding and gratifying.

For the first 5 years I was scared to go on vacation for fear all my hard work would unravel. Then my in-laws, father, mom and stepdad all started to get sick and I wanted to be there for them. They all lived thousands of miles away so I started to work less. After years of decline they each died about 6 months apart and I became executrix which is like having another job at times. So I had to take very good care of myself or I would not have been helpful to anyone else. 

I started working out every day. I started planning me time on my calendar. I became more comfortable with white space in my day and stopped over scheduling myself. And guess what? My business did not suffer, in fact it has become stronger. We moved up the food chain and have better clients. I do not think I could ever go back. I am so much happier and more productive as an entrepreneur than I ever was working for others. 



It is all about controlling your calendar. I no longer try to squeeze in more meetings or hit multiple events at night. As an entrepreneur, I can be selective. Less really is more. I’ve chosen quality over quantity. It sounds trivial but it is true. I created a platform to do work I enjoy and feel energized by. I feel I have found my purpose because I used to work all the time and life was passing me by. I got raises and promotions but I was all work and no play and I did not feel fulfilled. 

Since starting my business I have joined boards and volunteered at several organizations. I am a mentor to the next generation of leaders and have helped build a very successful anti-bullying program that >50,000 middle school aged kids have gone through. I am happier and healthier than I have been in more than a decade. As a marketing consultant I am able to write articles, contribute to books and speak at events to share my experience and lessons learned.

I self-funded the company and have learned so much. Beware because the people you start with are not always the ones who grow with you. The biggest mistake and hardest lesson I learned when I started my company is not getting rid of weak people earlier than I did in the first few years of my business. I spent more time managing them than finding new customers. I knew in my gut they were not up to snuff but out of loyalty to them I let them hang around much longer than they should have. It would have been better for everyone to let them go as soon as the signs were there. They became more insecure and threatened as we grew which was not productive for the team. As soon as I let them go the culture got stronger and the bar higher. “A” team people like to be surrounded by other stars. It is true that you should hire slowly and fire quickly. I did not make that mistake again later on so learned it well the first time. I wish I had known it even earlier though but lesson learned for sure!

Prospective customers can come from anyone anywhere anytime so you should always be on your best behavior & make a great lasting impression. Be nice to everyone & make friends before you need them, you never know who is in or will be in a position to help! It is true you should never burn a bridge, that really is great advice and I can tell you dozens of stories over the years where that has served me well. You just never know when your paths will cross again with old colleagues, former bosses, etc. Kill them with kindness and don’t ever burn that bridge, trust me it pays off! Also, be the best prepared at every meeting, work your butt off and smile. It has worked for me at least!



Paige Arnof-Fenn is the founder & CEO of global marketing firm Mavens & Moguls (www.MavensAndMoguls.com) based in Cambridge, MA. Their clients include Microsoft, Virgin, venture-backed startups as well as non profit organizations. Paige started her marketing career at Procter & Gamble and was Assistant Chief Marketing Officer at Coca-Cola. She also ran marketing at 3 successful startups previously. Paige graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Business School. She is a popular speaker and columnist who has written for Entrepreneur and Forbes.

Inspiring People: Winnie Mak Tselikas, One Dear World

There’s nothing like becoming a parent to make you re-think your purpose in life, and to consider the type of world you’d like your children to grown up in. This was true for Winnie Mak Tselikas, who founded One Dear World after the birth of her son. This is how Winnie started her business…

1. Tell us your story
I’m originally from Hong Kong with a traditional Chinese background. After moving to the UK in 2010, I married my half-French-half-Greek husband and gave birth to our 2 year-old son. After my maternity break, I started a business called One Dear World, ran a successful crowdfunding campaign and published my children’s book in November 2017. 

2. How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve?
I took the time during my maternity break and thought deeply about what I wanted to do in life and what sort of world I want my son to be in. My parenting experience and the multicultural environmental in my family and in London inspired me to start this business, which produces multicultural dolls and storybooks that teach children diversity and inclusion from a young age.

One Dear World Rag Dolls


3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals? 
Without knowing if my idea would work, I broke down my plan into stages and started with the crowdfunding campaign. Then again I broke down the crowdfunding stage into small steps and tackled them one by one. And yes I did set goals with a timeline.

4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?
To better control the cost, I’m doing almost everything (PR, marketing, doll design, sourcing, writing the book, video editing, business development) by myself with support from my husband on the weekend while taking care of my son. So the biggest challenge was to prioritise the tasks and stay productive so I can accomplish as much as possible within the limited time when my son was in nursery.

One Dear World book


5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?
My husband encourages me a lot when I feel down and the thought of setting an example to my son keeps me going.

6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?
Make a plan and work on it everyday even the smallest possible task and celebrate your achievement. 



7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?
I’m aiming to hit the Christmas gifting market with my dolls and book and to achieve my sales target by the end of this year, then make my dolls and book available to more toy and book stores. I would also like to publish another book next year.

Winnie Mak Tselikas is a mumpreneur with a 2 year-old son. Inspired by her multicultural family and London’s diversity, she founded One Dear World and created dolls and storybook that promote diversity and inclusion to young children. Learn more at www.onedearworld.com

Want more stories like this? Subscribe to our newsletter here

Inspiring People: Damon Nailer, www.daril.org

Many people (myself included!) aspire to write a book. But how can you maximise the reach and impact your book has on your readers? If you are writing a non-fiction book, then creating an online course that complements your book could be a viable option. This is exactly what Damon Nailer did, and how he did it…

1. Tell us your story:
My name is Damon Nailer. I currently reside in Monroe, La where I serve as a consultant, educator, author, motivational speaker, and program/online course creator. On the personal side I am a devoted husband and proud father.

2. How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve?
I had conducted research about creating various ways to earn income from your book besides books sales when I discovered the concept of converting your book into an online course. This idea truly resonated with me since I am an educator. Therefore, the goal was to create an online school by developing my book and newly released coaching program into two full-fledged online courses.

3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals? 
I devised a plan which was to convert 4-5 chapters a week which would give me about a month as a deadline to complete the course. 



4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?
My biggest challenges were carving out time to do the work as well as finding the most suitable platform to host my online course. I miraculously found time to complete the conversion and after research I discovered the best platform for the course. 

5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?
What inspires me the most when I face a challenge while pursuing any endeavor is looking forward to experiencing the exhilarating feeling of completing the task/attaining the goal after overcoming the obstacles.

6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?
1. Set realistic, tangible/measurable goals. 2. Make sure to create a timeline and set an overall deadline but be prepared to make adjustments in your time frame to accommodate unforeseen obstacles and circumstances that may arise. 3. Stay the course and remain focused until you reach the goal. 4. Have patience. Sometimes reaching the goal takes longer than you may anticipate. 5. Be flexible because you may have to alter your strategy or methods to obtain the goal.

7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve? 
My next goals are to create more courses for my online school and publish another book and inspirational eBook within the next 1-2 years. 

Damon Nailer is truly a “Renaissance Man” wearing the following hats: consultant, speaker, author, educator, and program/online course creator. Learn more about Damon at www.daril.org

Want more stories like this? Subscribe to our newsletter here

Inspiring People: Olivia Djouadi, online psychotherapist, counsellor and supervisor

At nine years old, Olivia Djouadi was told that she may not live past 30. When she passed this milestone, she started to rethink her life and career. Olivia is now an online psychotherapist, counsellor and supervisor and we are excited to share the story of how she got there…

1. Tell us your story:
I am Olivia Djouadi UKCP from London UK and now work in my dream career as an online psychotherapist, counsellor and supervisor. The training took a total of seven years and I continue to update my knowledge yearly. As a student in the 1980s my family were lucky to have a Apple 2E computer and my love of these machines that connected people began. During my training my computer gave me access to expertise from both America and Europe and I thought people who are time limited due to work, activities, and disabilities could gain my expertise in order to improve their wellbeing and for some a path out of trauma.

2. How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve?
I had been given a sort of lifeline when I lived past 30; I heard at 9 my type 1 diabetes may finish my life at 30 and I really believed it. Suddenly having a future took some excavating in my past, so I got therapy which was life-changing. I knew this was the career I wanted and knowing it took years to train challenged me to make a long-term goal. Reaching that goal meant I could not only assist individuals in my own area, but online as well after additional online training. 

3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals? 
I researched my university options. After the first year at one place, I transferred to another which was a great fit. I knew the training involved both class time and placements at a variety of clinics and GPs. I saw it as a step-by-step process that would continue even after training ended.


4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?
My biggest challenge was a mild stroke I had four years into training. At the time I was training at one university in traditional psychotherapy, training at another in online counselling, and doing placement hours. I stepped back from client work until I was ok, then I continued on my training journey.

5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?
The clients I had were so inspiring and I saw each one progress in their own ways. I also saw some overcome some huge emotional situations and achieve new goals. I work with severe trauma and also chronic illness which is challenging but also saves lives.

6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?
Keep going, you may get tired or stressed however little steps along the way will help you reach your goal. Break your goal into steps because the entire goal can seem too much at the start. Get a mentor. As well as getting therapy I also contacted experts in my field.

7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve? 
I would like to establish a worldwide trauma network that people can go to so they can get the support they need either in their own countries, or in another with qualified practitioners. 


Olivia Djouadi UKCP accredited psychotherapist and online counsellor and supervisor in the UK and worldwide. Connect with Olivia at www.therapywitholiviacom.ipage.com/index.html, or on her Facebook page 

Want more stories like this? Subscribe to our newsletter here

Inspiring People: David Black, actor, director, producer and musician.

No one loves an inspiring story more than us, and this week we’ve got an awesome one from David Black, an actor, director, producer and musician. Many creative people struggle making the decision between following their creative pursuit, or taking another full time job and following their creative passion on the side. David shares his story about how he relentlessly chased his dream to make his creative pursuit his full time gig.  

1. Tell us your story:
My name is David Black. I’ve been creative all my life and was the editorial cartoonist for The Truth back in 1989/1990. Back then, I was young and believed that I would make it as an artist, but over time, I ended up taking a full time job and just doing my art and music on the side. My band, Darkness Visible was getting good numbers to our gigs and we were getting out the recordings and music videos, so it looked like something might happen. But then I got cancer and everything started to unwind.

For a long time, I suffered exhaustion and was getting depressed. But as my energy started returning, I was invited to be an extra in a local horror movie called “Cult Girls”. Since then, I’ve gone from back-ground extra, to featured extra, to actor, to directing my own short movies and a TV series. 

2. How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve?
At first, the acting was just something that I had chanced upon and found that I enjoyed. With each role I did, I met more people in the movie industry. I got invited to do quite a variety of different things, which gave me an idea of what I liked doing within the film industry.

3. How did you work towards achieving your goal?
With each goal. I attacked it the same way as at my full time work in sales. I would research, put together a database of contacts and then engage with them. Some things came through and others didn’t.

4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?
The biggest challenge was that I was going from success to success in an industry where I was new to most people. The skills involved with various projects in the movie industry are very much the same as in the music industry. With 30 years of experience in the local gig scene, it meant that I was bringing these skills with me and getting ahead, whereas some that were long established in the indie movie industry just thought I was the newcomer. This clicked off a lot of jealousies.

5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?
So far, whenever someone local has blocked my way, better offers have come in from other sources. When I started writing articles about the local movie industry, the established local blogs thumbed their nose at me. I didn’t have time to get down over it because much larger overseas movie blogs asked for my articles.

When the indie movie distributors wouldn’t give me a press pass to cover their premiere’s, larger commercial movie distributors put me on their critics list.

Basically, there are no obstacles nowadays. Australian is no longer a one horse town. The internet has opened the whole world to us.

6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?
Just do it. Get started and see where it goes. Don’t wait for permission or approval from anyone or you will get old waiting.

7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?
I have just recently finished filming a hosted horror show, called Horror House. My goal is really just for it to take off. I am hoping to leave my full time job and make a living in the film industry. It’s time that I got back to being a full time creative.


David Black is an actor, director, producer and musician. Learn more about David’s recent project on the Horror House Facebook page

Want more stories like this? Subscribe to our newsletter here


Inspiring People: Lillie Cawthorn, author of The Money Factory

Lillie Cawthorn is the bestselling author of The Money Factory – How Any Woman Can Make $30,000 to $100,000 Passive Income, which was published by Black Card Books in November 2015. Since that time, Lillie has experienced incredible media exposure and invitations for speaking opportunities. Here’s why…

1. Tell us your story:
Just over one year ago, Lillie was working behind the scenes supporting her husband as he focused on developing their successful industrial real estate business which was jointly purchased. To enable her husband to transform the business by growing and modernising it, Lillie agreed to take responsibility for the business book keeping in addition to home and family. However, this meant giving up her career to work from home. This change resulted in virtually no interaction with their business customers or indeed others in the business world. As the business became increasingly successful, all the achievement, recognition and acknowledgements for their success were directed solely to her husband. Consequently, Lillie became more and more dissatisfied and withdrawn.

2. How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve?
In May 2015 she attended a workshop for budding authors that would change her life forever. The facilitator advised “to grow your business and write a book about it”. Lillie saw her opportunity and, feeling hugely excited, hurried home to tell her husband of her intention to take their business to the next level by writing a book about it. She received a resounding rejection, which ensued a terrible argument that could easily have destroyed the marriage. After much soul searching, Lillie decided to commit to write her book.



3. How did you work towards achieving your goal? 
Lillie announced that she would write her book with a focus on women. It would provide an insight into the lucrative industrial real estate investment sector that was almost entirely a male domain and thereby empower women to consider this investment vehicle. Since Lillie has been in this field for almost two decades, she discovered that very few women invest in industrial real estate. She sought to determine the reasons why.

Her greatest concern is the level of poverty being experienced by retired women in Australia. The Superannuation system is simply failing the women of Australia. Alternative income sources are desperately needed, so women can achieve their financial independence and Lillie is gaining incredible attention for the hope she gives women to secure a dream retirement.

Since the launch of her book, Lillie also has been featured in many influential media outlets in Australia and the United States. Media highlights have included Sky Business, The Daily Telegraph, realestate.com.au, commercialrealestate.com.au and Business Blue Print’s Empire Builders. CBS News, Fox, ABC and NBC in the United States have also interviewed Lillie about many industrial property topics

She has spoken at the highly regarded National Achievers Congress 2015 events in Sydney and Melbourne. CPA Australia has requested Lillie speak at the organisation’s 2016 conferences in Sydney and Melbourne.

4. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?
Lillie continues to aim and bag more speaking opportunities and exposure to be a key woman of influence.


Lillie Cawthorn has been investing in industrial real estate in Sydney for the past 15 years and also has real estate investment interests in France and the United States. She is the author of the international bestselling book The Money Factory – How Any Woman Can Make An Extra $30,000 to $100,000 Passive Income. Learn more about Lillie and her book at: www.moneyfactoryinvesting.com/

Inspiring People: Sarah Stein, Miss Efficiency

Sarah has been through a lot over the last few years, but what hasn’t changed is her vision and determination to work from home and raise her children. Even when her journey didn’t follow the path she expected, Sarah has remained positive and made the most of the opportunities presented to her, which have made her the successful business owner she is today. This is her journey so far…
1. Tell us your story:
I was working full time for an international relocations company. I loved my job – I met my husband, Jason, while working there, and was going to stay there forever! Our plan was to have a baby and I’d go back to work while Jason stayed at home and looked after the kids. He had it all worked out too – he’d get the kids ready in the morning, do the washing and the housework, and be on the golf course by mid-morning with his specially made golf buggy/stroller.

A few months after getting married I got pregnant but unfortunately had a miscarriage. As devastating as that was, it didn’t change our plans; a couple of months after that my sister-in-law lost a 5-week old baby to SIDS. That turned my world upside down!

2. How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve?
I identified that I wanted to work full time, but I wanted to be at home with a baby too. The only way that I could see that I could have my cake and eat it too, was to be able to work from home. So I approached my boss and said that I planned to get pregnant again and have a baby, and I’d like to be able to work from home, so let’s put things in place now to make that happen. He said absolutely no way, that couldn’t possibly work. 

Still feeling the devastation from the loss of my baby niece, I was quite tunnel visioned in my quest. The next day, just short of long service leave, I handed in my resignation. 

My family and friends said that I was crazy and it would take at least three years for my business to take off. It was at this point that I began to get scared! So I got a part time job as a court reporter for three days a week, and the other two days in the week I spent working on my business. 

I had a very clear picture of me working from my home office with my bundle of joy sleeping soundly beside me – it was the in between that was a little fuzzy!

3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals? 
Fully expecting to be a court reporter for three years, I resigned from that job and went full time in my bookkeeping business after only eight months, when I had 50 clients. Within 12 months of that I hired my first full time bookkeeper, and in another 12 months there were more staff and we were working out of commercial premises. This was achieved through a lot of hard work – developing relationships with businesses and strategic alliances, creating systems so that I wasn’t reinventing the wheel each time and could handle the work flow.



Five years into my business, and after five years of fertility treatments, I was finally pregnant and carried a baby to term. My friends and family were again quick with the questions – how was I possibly going to run my business, manage my staff, have a baby, and not have a nervous breakdown in the process? Their concerns were understandable – I’d barely changed a nappy in my life and was a little concerned about my bundle of joy’s arrival. I jokingly insisted that it would be okay because I’d scheduled my due date in my diary, and the baby was going to fit nicely into my diary too. Funnily enough, baby Zac did arrive on his due date, and he just about did fit into my diary after that. 

4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?
During the time I was pregnant, my father had a terrible motorcycle accident in New Zealand. I travelled to be with him 6 times in the 6 months before he passed away.

I had some business planning to do through my pregnancy too. My employee bookkeeper was also pregnant and she was leaving to be a stay at home mum. So how was I to run my business with my own baby? I restructured my business to work completely remotely rather than travel to clients premises, I put systems in place so I could access their information remotely and work from my home office around baby. This meant that I could work my own hours, and it opened up my business to clients who weren’t just within my driving circle.

Then I started looking for contractors to help me – I wasn’t superwoman, after all! What I found was dismal! The bookkeepers I interviewed were sloppy, uneducated, and didn’t consider themselves in business at all – this was before the BAS Agent legislation came into being and a lot has changed in the industry since then. So it got me thinking – how can I help train bookkeepers so they can run a great systematised business like mine, how could I help other mums get started in their own business while working around their family commitments, and in the process, develop some great bookkeepers who could assist each other in times of need or when they wanted to take a break from their business. So I developed Miss Efficiency Franchising and within a few years had up to 14 franchisees across Australia.

2010 was a particularly challenging year – Jason broke his arm in January, a very bad break that left him not working, and consequently not earning an income; I had a (very difficult) baby in February, and Jason had a massive heart attack in April. This was an extremely difficult time emotionally, and even with these extreme events I still had a toddler to take care of, as well as a sick baby and husband, and a business and house to run. Were it not for the tremendous relationships I’d developed with my clients and accountants, and the excellent systems that had been developed, which included my franchisees, both my business and I would undoubtedly have collapsed in a heap. But we didn’t – it was just another obstacle to overcome, which we did.

It turns out that franchising isn’t for me, but during the time it was running we had helped people develop their bookkeeping business to work around their own personal goals. The franchise business was closed down, and the franchisees were free to continue on their own.

My passion is helping business owners with their business, through empowering them around their accounts. But what I’ve seen is many business owners have their own passion, and this can get lost when the reality of business hits, they get overwhelmed and burdened, and wonder why they bother. So I’ve written a book that tackles exactly that, called “Wow … I’m in Business!” The book is designed to help business owners re-engage with their business passion, get through the overwhelm, and put systems in place to move their business in the direction they want it to go. This has created opportunities for me to present my ideas to business owners, and the light bulb moments that I’m seeing are spectacular!

My children are now in primary school. I work from a purpose built office at home (outside the house) and my routine is such that I can work in the early hours before they rise, then I revert to ‘mum mode’ before school, work during the day, and back to ‘mum mode’ after school. This enables me to get enough working hours into my day, be there for my children before and after school, and also have some time to myself and with hubby in the evening. We schedule a 3-day camping weekend once a month and take that time to reconnect as a family (let’s face it, things can be pretty hectic during the week just going through the motions), and get away from the business to recharge.

The biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome in my business is learning that it doesn’t matter how good I am at bookkeeping, I have to be a great (or better) business person. It’s not good enough to just get on the tools, get the numbers crunched and the BAS lodged. I need to nurture my business, my clients, and myself, and everything else will follow.



5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles? 
I’m inspired by people who are out there making their own dreams come true. When I see people start to get overwhelmed in their business, I love to be able to help them with strategies to get through it and keep their business moving. When I come up against my own obstacles, I just look at my children – they are my driving force. I want to instil in them that you can do anything you set out to achieve; that hard work and persistence pays off; that it’s possible to do something that you’re passionate about and love what you do!

6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?
My advice to anybody who’s got a goal and isn’t quite sure how to reach it:
Write down your goal – this makes it tangible
Draw yourself a road map of how you’re going to get to your destination
It doesn’t matter if the path changes, as long as you’re continually moving forward
Believe you can do it – and you will!

7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?
My book was released this year and from that I’ve secured a few speaking engagements. This is a very different area to bookkeeping, and I’m loving it! I’m passionate about my subject (overcoming the overwhelm) and love helping others in their business. My goal this year is to reach more people with my message through presenting at business events.

I’ll leave you with these final words – believe you can fail, and you will; believe you can succeed, and you will. Get your mindset right, and everything else will follow.


Learn more about Sarah’s business, Miss Efficiency here and check out Sarah’s latest book, Wow – I’m in Business!

Inspiring People: Sarah Lajeunesse, Lifestyle and Wellness Coach

This is one of the most inspiring interview I’ve ever read. I hope you enjoy Sarah’s words of wisdom as much as I did…

1. Tell us your story:
My name is Sarah Lajeunesse and I’m a Lifestyle and Wellness Coach. Though I am based out of Canada, I work with clients online from all over the world that want more out of life and are ready to step out of their comfort zone to find the courage and confidence to achieve it. 

I grew up wanting to work in sports management which resulted in me landing various positions with professional football organizations across the country in events, marketing and corporate sponsorships. By 25, I was awarded “Top 5 Under 25 to Watch in the Sport Industry” across Canada and shortly after was a senior manager at a professional sport league head office. Though I had accomplished my goal of working in sports at an early age, I was constantly waiting for the “next big thing” to make me feel happy and fulfilled. Yet, with every acquirement of the “next big thing”, I felt a quick burst of excitement, energy and temporary fulfillment, before quickly going back to the unhappy and unfulfilled state that I was in before. 

I considered my career to be the only indicator of true success and as a result, everything else took a back seat. I stopped making time for exercise, proper nutrition, relationships and most importantly, self-care. I considered this type of overworked and burnt-out lifestyle to be just a “means to an end” and that I was just “earning my stripes”. I knew that if I continued to put everything into my career, then the promotions, money and exposed-brick apartment would give me all the happiness I needed. 

In a nutshell, I became so disconnected from myself that I forgot who I was, what truly made me happy and the lifestyle that I actually wanted to live. I new I had to make big and immediate changes in order to create the life I truly wanted and through the process, I realized I wanted to help other people do the same. 


Image from Fi Mims Photography


2. How did you identify the goal/s you wanted to achieve?
I suffered from a lot of stress and a string of anxiety attacks while I was working in the corporate world. I knew that if I wanted to be happy I had to make drastic changes to my entire life, not just my work/life balance. 

I needed to remove toxic relationships in my life and negative habits that squandered my productivity. I needed to consider the energy I was putting into my body, (television, social media, food, relationships) and remove what didn’t serve or uplift me. 

I had to create time to discover what my passions actually were and the type of life I wanted to make, and I knew I had to make big sacrifices in order to achieve it. Once I discovered the world of life coaching and I realized I wanted to help others make lifestyle transformations like I was going through, I knew I had to make the decision from wanting to change my life to deciding to change my life, so I could walk my talk and lead by example to show others how to do the same. 

3. How did you work towards achieving your goal – did you have a plan and a deadline to achieve your goals? 
I began making subtle changes at first by eliminating toxic habits, activities and relationships in my life that didn’t serve or uplift me. I tried meditation, journaling and immersed myself in personal development books. I hired a health and lifestyle coach who helped me to give myself the permission to put my own self-care and wellness at the forefront of every decision. She taught me how to maximize my time and feel more energized by fuelling my body with only food that nourished me. She gave me the courage and confidence to see that my crazy and large-scale ideas were a possibility and with her help, I was able to find more vibrancy, confidence and passion than I ever thought I had so I could make those goals come to life. It was about creating more balance and time for myself to get really clear on how I wanted to spend the rest of my life and to create small, actionable steps to get me closer each day. I found a coaching academy that aligned with my values and beliefs and within a year I had graduated as a life coach from the Beautiful You Coaching Academy which is based out of Australia, launched my website and quit my corporate job and haven’t looked back. 

4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?
Fear of failure or judgment from others. I was worried people would think this was just a “made-up” career choice. That it was just a phase or that I was a less educated and less expensive counsellor. (I’ve heard all of that and much more) I have been laughed at and I have been asked if I was going through a quarter-life crisis. As long as I am passionate, authentic and certain of my vision, I’m able to tune out others that don’t support me, quite easily. 

5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles? 
My clients. I work with some of the most amazing and inspiring women that continue to motivate me everyday. I have worked with women that have overcome trauma in their life, abuse, eating disorders, addictions, self-esteem issues, lack of confidence and self-worth and so many other circumstances that they didn’t/don’t deserve and certainly didn’t ask for. 

What is so incredible is their resilience and commitment to not only overcoming the obstacles, challenges or trauma that they experienced in their lives, but having the faith that there is so much more to life and they are ready to get out of their own way in order to achieve it. 

People get to a point in their lives where the idea of staying in a lifestyle, job, relationships, city (whatever it might be) quite literally suffocates them and they are ready once and for all to do whatever it takes to change their lives. When I see a client’s energy shift from lacking any belief or worth in themselves, to suddenly realizing that they are capable of achieving whatever their dream life looks like to them, it constantly reminds me that I am doing exactly what I was meant to do. 

Image from Fi Mims Photography



6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?
1. The Most Successful People Never Stop Learning
Find a coach or mentor that will help you with setting goals and working towards achieve them. Coaching/mentoring is all about discovering your vision and giving yourself the permission to start making it a reality. The most successful people realize that, regardless of the incredible heights that they’ve reached in their business or lives, by allowing themselves to be coachable they have an opportunity to bring their lives to the next level by learning from other’s new ideas and methods to tap into the unused potential they have within themselves. Coachable people realize the impact that an outside source could make on their lives, they take what they’ve learned in the past yet remain open minded to learning new practices and principles. They take advice, suggestions and knowledge from others and utilize it to grow themselves, and their attitude towards bettering themselves is a “whatever it takes” type of mentality.

Even if you don’t have a coach or a mentor at the moment, you can listen to podcasts, read books and build relationships with and from the people you admire, and implement some of the strategies they share (if they are in alignment with your beliefs and values). 

2. If You Want To Live a Full Life, Be Willing To Do Things That Make You Uncomfortable
I have a fear of public speaking. That might come to a surprise to a lot of people that know me and know how much I like to talk. Everyday I do something that makes me feel uncomfortable and push my limits so I can connect with, serve and reach more people. Though it includes a list of activities that terrify me, I committed to doing them because without stepping outside of my comfort zone and putting myself in uncomfortable situations, I can’t grow or live up to my fullest capability. 

3. Don’t Wait for Things to Be Perfect Before You Begin
Whether it’s launching a business, moving to a new city, writing a book or changing a career path, people wait until they are “ready” or for the perfect moment to allow themselves to begin. And guess what? There IS no perfect moment. You will NEVER feel ready for massive change. So people rarely make the leap. Within the three months since launching my business, I have already learned and applied so many new practices when working with my clients. And it will continue to evolve throughout the years over and over again, until I get it right. But the point? Just BEGIN and change things as you go. Your end goal will look very different in 5, 10 or 15 years than it does right now, but the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get there.

5. Do You Want to Be Great Now, Or 20 Years From Now?
When we started talking about certain principles and tactics to apply to my business, I said to my mentor, “I think that’s a great idea, that’ll be great to implement when I have a bit more experience”. (My limiting beliefs and fears were flaring up in this particular area of growth.) So he asked me, “Do you want to be great now? Or 20 years for now?” What a simple yet profound question to ask yourself. So, I challenge all of you amazing people reading this blog to ask yourself this simple question the next time you’re invited to expand your horizon or implement new game-changing ideas in your life, career or business and you are tempted to wait until you have more experience and feel more ready to do so. Move forward every day with the idea that you ARE ready to be great right now and the only thing holding you back from doing so is yourself. 

Image from Fi Mims Photography




7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?
I am working on an e-book and eventually a 30-day program for people that want immediate change in their lives. A three year plan is to host women’s empowerment retreats that encompass personal/professional development with a ton of yoga/meditation and self-care thrown into the mix!

Sarah Lajeunesse is a lifestyle and wellness coach committed to helping young, overwhelmed and overworked women exchange their “going through the motions” lifestyle for one with more vibrancy, power, passion and purpose. Her coaching programs are designed to empower women to overcome fears, judgements and lack of self-belief so they can begin living the extraordinary lives they were meant to live. Learn more about Sarah and her work at www.sarahlajeunesse.com

Inspiring People: Alison Dillon, Cup Above Tea

Did you know that the favours and aromas of tea are as complex as wine or coffee? It was this realisation that prompted Alison Dillon to create her company, Cup Above Tea. This is what she learned along the way…

1. Tell us your story:
I’m no different to most people who’ve upskilled, reskilled or done an about-face in their career and started their own business. While I love the corporate world and my global communication career, I felt like it was time to push further out of my comfort zone and finally start my own business – something I’ve always thought I’d do, but I just hadn’t always known what that business might be. Funnily enough it was my personal passion for champagne that actually sparked my tea journey, and ultimately, the launch of Cup Above Tea.



2. How did you identify the goals you wanted to achieve?
My weak spot for champagne coupled with a family connection to viticulture led me to learn more than my fair share about wine making. I came to understand how things like terroir, growing conditions, processing, innovation, tradition, skill and effort all combine to impact taste and quality. It was these concepts – provenance, craftsmanship and seasonality – that got me thinking about how this might apply to tea. I wanted to know why Darjeeling tasted and looked so different to English Breakfast. Why is black tea black and not green? What’s an oolong and why are there so many? How can some tea be worth upwards of $1000 for just a few grams? It was difficult to find answers. There were conflicting stories. Most tea merchants knew very little about what they were selling. So my curiosity got the better of me and I decided I would find out for myself.

3. How did you work towards achieving your goal?
I learned all I could on my own, but still had lots of unanswered questions, so I embarked on my ‘official’ tea training journey, completed my formal tea studies and headed abroad to more deeply immerse myself in processing, production and culture at tea gardens around the world. There is no better way to learn, than from the experts themselves and I was very fortunate to meet some wonderfully talented people who showed me so much and shared their time and expertise with me so generously. 



4. What was the biggest challenge you encountered along the way?
The more I learned, the faster I realised our palates have been putting up with inferior, mass produced tea for far too long. In the liquid world, we readily appreciate and understand the vast quality spectrum that differentiates a cask wine and a vintage bottle of aged red, or instant coffee and single origin fresh-roasted beans. There’s a tea spectrum too. But most of us are languishing at the wrong end of it. I knew there was a better option out there than most people are aware of so the challenge was set to introduce tea drinkers to what they didn’t even know they had been missing out on!

5. What inspires you and keeps you going when you encounter obstacles?
I’m inspired by the craftspeople who have spent lifetimes, and even generations, perfecting their skills. It’s a good reality check to think that excellence is earned over time, not instantaneously, and that can put things into sharp perspective. 



6. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to achieve a goal?
Perseverance and discipline are key, but equally important is celebrating and recognising yourself for your achievements. 

7. What are the next goals you hope to achieve?
Exciting things are happening later this year for Cup Above Tea, I can’t give too much away but it involves a brand new part of our website, lots of fun for our customers, and plenty of customisation. You’ll have to stay tuned! 

Alison Dillon is among the first to become a Certified Tea Master in Australia. Basically, this means she knows much more than the average person about tea. With her skills, knowledge, passion and business expertise she is steadily changing the way that Australians make their tea choices. 

She founded Cup Above Tea to place a focus on exceptional tea with outstanding provenance and incredible craftsmanship. This sort of tea is not the kind you find on chain store shelves, rather it is accessed via carefully developed relationships with artisans who produce the very best single-batch teas from a special collection of small family gardens around the world. www.cupabovetea.com 

Want more stories like this? Subscribe to our newsletter here